Says credible elections are not feasible in the country
The Chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC)-a body tasked with overseeing the peace transition of power in South Sudan -Festus Mogae has told the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) that credible elections are not feasible in in the country.
The former president of Botswana ascribed this move to mass displacement, severe food insecurity and total lack of institutional and constitutional infrastructure. “Credible elections will not be feasible in South Sudan at the end of the current transitional period,” he told the UNSC via video-conferencing.
This announcement comes after the country’s president, Salva Kiir’s announcement that South Sudan will hold elections next year. Kiir seeks an election that will be the first vote on his leadership since the turbulent country won independence from Sudan in 2011. Presidential elections set for 2015 were delayed by civil war.
Mogae however says there is “irrefutable fact that the permanent ceasefire has been and continues to be violated by all the parties with impunity” and that “security has deteriorated to a critical level” with six million people now reported to be severely food insecure.
Further, Mogae noted, whilst some progress has been made in the implementation of the 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS), “It is greatly disappointing” that after two years, several transitional institutions and mechanisms have not been established.
The institutions include the Special Reconstruction Fund, the Economic and Financial Management Authority, the Compensation and Reparations Authority and other key transitional justice institutions. “Most importantly, there has been no progress whatsoever in the Permanent Constitution-making process,” he said.
The Chairperson of JMEC was addressing the New York-based UNSC via video-conference from Juba. Mogae reaffirmed that the IGAD-led High Level Revitalization Forum expected to be held in the coming weeks remains “the best opportunity” to restore peace and rebuild governance in South Sudan.
“There is a fundamental need for a demonstration of political will by the parties to undertake their responsibility to implement the provisions of the Peace Agreement. All forms of obstruction to the delivery of humanitarian aid must be removed,” he added. “The Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) must expedite and conclude the constitutional and legislative amendments and initiate without further delay the Permanent Constitution-making process.”
JMEC was established by terms decreed under Chapter Seven of the ARCSS, signed on 17 August 2015 in Ethiopia. Under the terms of the agreement, JMEC shall be responsible for monitoring, overseeing and supporting the implementation of the agreement and the mandate and tasks of the TGoNU, including adherence of the parties to agreed timelines and schedules; and in the event of non-compliance, shall recommend appropriate corrective action to the TGoNU.